'Family Guy' Creator Seth MacFarlane Reaches for the Cosmos

Seth MacFarlane at Comic-Con 2011/Image: Flickr/<a href=Gage Skidmore" />
Seth MacFarlane at Comic-Con 2011/Image: Flickr/Gage Skidmore

When the great scientific minds of our time begin to speculate that aliens might choose to wipe us out as a precautionary measure to protect the galaxy from our cockroach-like ways, you know it's time for a massive public re-education campaign. It's been over thirty years since Carl Sagan's "Cosmos" miniseries welcomed everyday people to attune themselves to the grandeur of our universe, blending scientific fact with philosophical theory in a way that sparked the public's imagination. The book adapted from the series became one of the bestselling science books of all time. In our current climate of science-aversion (according to the Broad Foundation, American students rank twenty-fifth in math and twenty-first in science compared to students in thirty industrialized countries), it's almost impossible to imagine the same public having much patience for evil socialist PBS indoctrinations on trans-dimensional relations.

Fortunately the veil of ignorance is about be parted once more, as FOX has dusted off Cosmos and ordered a brand-new thirteen-episode series. But here's something that intellectuals and ignoramuses can both scratch their heads over: The person at the helm of Cosmos 2.0 is Seth MacFarlane, the self-avowed geek whose greatest contribute to pop culture (to date) is ubiquitous Stewie Griffin merchandising. Fortunately, actual science-types will be involved! The show's host will be Neil deGrasse Tyson, an astrophysicist who has already cut his teeth on PBS's "Nova" specials, but can also hold his own in the witty banter department -- look here to see Tyson exchanging comedic jabs with Jon Stewart on "The Daily Show."

Ironically enough, MacFarlane's other breakout project right now happens to be a retrograde creationist fantasia. "The Flintstones", tentatively set for release in 2013, hearkens back to the historical period in which humans and dinosaurs coexisted in a proto-Eisenhower utopia of social conservatism. But let's not strain ourselves trying to imagine what sort of person is capable of working on these two particular projects side by side; as Carl Sagan himself put it, "The cosmos is interesting rather than perfect, and everything is not part of some greater plan, nor is all necessarily under control."